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  • Writer's pictureEmma Hanley

Film@BirrTheatre: "The Great Escaper"

Film@BirrTheatre brings you the best of Irish, world and independent cinema on the Theatre’s big screen.

This week, we are showing “The Great Escaper”, a 2023 biographical drama film directed by Oliver Parker, written by William Ivory, and starring two British icons Michael Caine and the late Glenda Jackson. It was Jackson's final role before her death last summer. They last starred together in "The Romantic Englishwoman" in 1975.

"The Great Escaper" is based on the true story of 89-year-old British World War II Royal Navy veteran, Bernard 'Bernie' Jordan, who broke out of his nursing home to attend the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations in France in June 2014. He is helped by his wife Irene, who has a wicked sense of humour and a rebellious demeanour as she gives the care home staff the run-around when Bernie's escape has been discovered. Bernie's story goes viral soon after.

Caine and Jackson give beautiful performances that really tug on your heartstrings and they have a delightful chemistry. The film celebrates their love without sentimentality and their characters' lifelong love shines onscreen. They both have reached a point in their lives where they feel they can only live inside their memories.

As Bernie travels by bus and ferry to Normandy, he forms a connection with veteran compatriot, Arthur (John Standing). They both have repressed emotions and memories from that pivotal day in 1944. There is a notable moment when the pair encounter German counterparts. There is no animosity, just a shared understanding.

"The Great Escaper" fits a lot into 90 minutes in a heart-warming and charming way. Anyone who gets to the end without having shed a tear or two deserves their own medal!

Join us this Thursday at 8pm for this week's instalment of Film@BirrTheatre.

Run time: 96 minutes

Cert: 12A

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